ESA Guidance Now Contains Chapter On Electronic Monitoring Policies

If you’re an employer with over 25 employees, you’ll want to read this short article as you need a written policy in place by October 2022.

If you’re a Mainstay client, we have provided HR resources that include a sample policy you can adopt to your firm.  If you’re not signed up yet, reach out and I’ll give you the code to access the info, which includes complete employee handbook, policy samples and templates.


In the spring, Bill 88Working for Workers Act, 2022received Royal Assent and became law. Among other things, Bill 88 amended Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) to require certain employers to ensure, within a specific time frame, that they have a written policy in place for all employees with respect to electronic monitoring of employees (Policy).

On July 13, 2022, in its Your guide to the Employment Standards Act, the Government of Ontario published employer guidance for complying with the Policy. In this Insight, we provide a summary of that guidance in Q & A format.

READ Q&A

Ontario Extends COVID-19 Paid Infectious Disease Emergency Leave Yet Again

The Ontario government has extended the IDEL to march 31, 2023.

The post from e2r below provides more information.


If you thought COVID-19 was over, think again.

 
The Ontario government has just announced that it will be extending the Worker Income Protection Benefit program yet again until March 31, 2023. Set to expire on July 31st, 2022, this extension means that employers will still be required to provide three paid infectious disease emergency leave days to employees affected by COVID-19.
 
As a reminder, employees can take the three paid days for reasons such as:
  • going for a COVID-19 test
  • staying home awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test
  • being sick with COVID-19
  • going to get vaccinated
  • experiencing a side effect from a COVID-19 vaccination
  • having been advised to self-isolate due to COVID-19 by an employer, medical practitioner or other authority
  • taking care of a dependent who is:
o   sick with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19
o   self-isolating due to COVID-19
 
As set out in our last alert regarding this topic here – if an employee has already used up their 3 days, they are no longer entitled to any additional paid days (unless, of course, you already have a sick day policy in place that provides for additional days).
 
Employers must pay the employee their normal rate of pay for the day off, up to $200, and will have up to 120 days to make a claim for reimbursement. Information on employer reimbursement of these days can be found in our previous alert here.

Cross-Border: A Guide To Doing Business In Canada – Key Topics And Developments

The majority of our clients are Canadian companies based in Ontario.  Some have employees in other provinces and occasionally in the US or abroad.  In other cases, the head office is in the US or Europe, and they have smaller offices located here, in Canada, that often represent a small portion of their employees.

For the cases of US employers with Canadian employees, I occasionally provide articles of interest in understanding how our systems are different when it comes to benefits, HR and employment law.  this article references a great 48 page book you can obtain (or download).


On June 28, 2022 the McCarthy Tetrault’s Labour and Employment Group, along with leading partners from other practice areas in the Firm, hosted an insightful webinar on key cross-border topics and trends for business. The webinar coincided with the launch of our Cross-Border – Navigating Canadian Employment Law Guidebook.. The following are some highlights from the panelists:.

READ ARTICLE

Ontario, Canada: Requirements for Mandatory Policies, Training and Postings

If you have Ontario employees, please read this article for the required postings each office must have.  The link provides a list of all you need to know as well as; posters, sources for documents etc. in order to stay in compliance.


Employers subject to provincial legislation (i.e., not federal employers) that have employees in Ontario often ask about legislative requirements under various employment statutes, including mandatory policies, training, postings, and information sheets under the Employment Standards Act, 2000, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, the Pay Equity Act, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017, the Working for Workers Act, 2021, and the Working for Workers Act, 2022. To make this information conveniently available, the Littler Toronto office assembled these requirements in a single publication. 

We have prepared an update to this publication dated June 20, 2022 (11th edition), which includes new information about the policy on disconnecting from work and information on the new policy on electronic monitoring of employees, which are mandatory for most employers. This edition of the publication also reflects the elimination of COVID-19 restrictions, with the exception of a masking requirement in long-term care and retirement homes.  Click here to read the June 2022 update.

Ontario Government Passes The Working For Workers Act, 2022 With Important Changes For Employers

A quick to read article on changes affecting Ontario employers.


On Monday, April 11, 2022 Bill 88, the Working for Workers Act, 2022 (the “Act“) received Royal Assent and came into force. The Act is intended to be a part of the Ontario governments continued response to the recommendations contained in a report from the Ontario Workforce Advisory Committee. Previously the government passed Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021 which requires employers with 25 or more employees to implement a right to disconnect policy by June 2, 2022. This Act, like its predecessor, makes several notable changes to the workplace through the creation and modification of legislation.

READ ARTICLE

ONTARIO: Time off Work for Employees on Election Day

Just a quick reminder…(compliments of e2r hr)

With the Ontario Provincial Election just around the corner, now is a good time to start thinking about your obligations as an employer to provide your employees with time off work to vote.

 
Eligible voters who are 18 years of age or older and registered to vote are entitled to three consecutive hours off work during the time that their polling stations are open. If an employee’s work schedule does not facilitate this requirement, an employer must grant them time off work to vote. Any time off work given to an employee for the purpose of voting must be paid.
 
For example, if an employee’s polling station is open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and they are scheduled to work from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., the employee would have three consecutive hours after work to vote – no time off required. However, if their schedule is 11:00 to 8:00 p.m. there is no three-hour window to vote and the employer would need to adjust the schedule to provide three consecutive hours to vote (in this instance the employee could leave at 6:00 p.m.) The employer would not be permitted to deduct any wages from an employee’s pay for taking this time off work to vote.
 
The employer may decide which three consecutive hours to grant, if required to do so. Please note there are significant penalties for failing to comply.

Drug plan spending increased 4.3% in 2021

Clients and prospects often consult with us to learn where benefit costs are going from year to year.  We publish average increase on our website HERE and include the highs and lows in our April newsletter each year also available on our site HERE

It has been certainly tougher to predict, during the past 2 years, with COVID changing treatment habits (dental and parameds especially) and the higher than average increases in both use and charges we’ve seen in some sectors.  Dental has seen a 4.75% increase in the ODS fee guide and when trend and utilization is added to that inflation, we are seeing costs rise about 6%.  This report below is indicating that drug costs are not that high, which coincides with what we’ve seen of about 5% a year over the past 10 years or so.


While the overall private drug plan spend per member increased by 4.3 per cent in 2021, fewer plan members submitted claims and the per-claimant cost grew, according to Express Scripts Canada’s latest prescription drug trends report.

Read Article

Court Confirms Advanced Age And Short Service Does Not Automatically Equate To Lengthy Notice Period

I share legal cases that I think may apply to our clients (small and mid-sized firms), or areas they should be aware of.  Many of these are the extremes (rather than norms) of what happens when termination go wrong, for example, and illustrate the risks employers may face.  This article is more employer friendly and I especially like the commentary  where they say… “These decisions represent a major win for employers in Ontario. There is a commonly held belief that terminating a short-service, advanced-aged employee without an enforceable termination clause is akin to setting oneself on fire, when taking into consideration the perceived risk associated with combination of these outlier factors.”


A recent pair of Ontario Superior Court decisions offered interesting insight on the determination of reasonable notice when faced with widely considered “outlier” factors. The two decisions,  Flack v. Whiteoak Ford Lincoln Sales Limited (“Flack”) and  Ewach v. Whiteoak Ford Lincoln Sales Limited (“Ewach”), were presented back-to-back to Justice S.F. Dunphy and involved the same employer and employees in similar circumstances.

Read Article

Acupuncture will no longer be covered by insurance if Ontario passes this controversial law

Please do not shoot the messenger on this one.

CRA mandates what is an eligible medical expense for the purposes of the Medical Expense Tax Credit (METC) on our personal taxes.  This definition is often used for Private Health Service Plans (PHSP’s) which includes both traditional benefit plans and health spending accounts.

When it comes to medical service providers, CRA is looking for a provincially recognized, self regulating association that can suspend or revoke the license of a member if they do not follow the association code of conduct. If that regulation and oversight is no longer required, then the benefits are usually not eligible for the METC.  This can, by extension, mean they may no longer be eligible for benefit plan reimbursement.

The article below provides more information…


A recently-tabled legislative change that would effectively allow anyone in Ontario to perform traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) or acupuncture without an official licence has prompted a flurry of worry, questions and objections aimed at the Ford government…

READ ARTICLE